Home victory

The Portland State men’s basketball team earned its first win of the season on Saturday in the home opener against Cal Poly.

The Portland State men’s basketball team earned its first win of the season on Saturday in the home opener against Cal Poly.

Heading into the game, the Vikings had more than a few questions surrounding their ability to rebound. Losing the battle on the glass in three previous games, they were seemingly unable to create a presence under the hoop, offensively or defensively.

“Rebounding is a lot of going to get it—boxing your guy out, being physical, the little things,” said head coach Tyler Geving. “We will get beat night in and night out if we continue to rebound like that.”

Hitting .674 from the field, Portland State (1-3) shot lights-out all night, and rode the hot hands of senior guard Dominic Waters. Despite being beaten on the glass by Cal Poly (0-3), the Vikings produced their best shooting in the history of the men’s basketball team, and ran away with a 92-83 victory.

“We had a good game plan by our coaches,” Waters said. “They scouted the team, and how to play them. That was a big part of it.”

Extending their streak of consecutive wins in the Stott to eight games, Portland State proved once again there is no place like home. The Vikings played with a renewed sense of energy, and were nearly perfect in shooting during the first half of play. At the midway point they were hitting an eye-opening .714 from the field.

Benefiting from being at their healthiest point all season, the Vikings were able to overcome some early foul trouble by going to their bench. Rotating in junior forward Phillip Thomas and senior forward Julius Thomas, Portland State got a combined five-of-five shooting and five rebounds from the duo in 35 minutes of action.

Increasing the lead to double digits on junior guard Melvin Jones’ three-pointer with 17:38 left in the game, the Vikings appeared to have the game locked. That was until the Mustangs decided to show up mentally, and began to slowly chip away at Portland State’s lead.

Tying up the score with seven minutes left, Cal Poly started to take control and looked like the better team on the floor. After the Mustangs pulled ahead by a point just seconds later, the Vikings regrouped and got back into the game before taking the lead for good.

“The second half we shared the basketball,” Geving said. “We had one turnover over the last 17 minutes of the game—that was something we preached all week.”

Nailing free throws down the stretch, Portland State closed out the game in convincing fashion, something they had trouble doing in the first three games of the season in Seattle.

With over a week to rest, the Vikings will continue to work on rebounding and growing as a team before heading to Palo Alto, Calif., to face Stanford on Nov. 29.